A Weight Loss Doctor’s New Years Resolution to Lose Weight
by Natan Schleider, M.D.
January 12th, 2017
Before starting New York House Call Physicians, I had a few temporary part-time doctor jobs that honestly tough me a lot. I worked in a small emergency room. I worked for an urgent care center chain. And I worked for a diet doctor practice.
While working as a “diet doctor,” I was 29, ran 6-10 miles every morning like a machine, and really watched my diet, namely caloric intake. If you want to lose weight simply put, put in fewer calories than you burn. As a chubby 8-year-old, my grandfather whom I miss dearly–an attorney who hated his job weeding out the “fakers” who claimed disability at the insurance company he worked for, was an avid handball player in Brooklyn, NY, and regular at the YMCA and bowling lanes.
Visiting him and my grandmother in Florida in their Jewish retirement community, Century Village, he pinched my love handles firmly and simply said: “What is this?”
Minutes later, he was showing me how to do leg raises and said I was to do 200 a day.
Not the first to “tease” me on my weight, by age 15 I had given up high school baseball for the gym and 10 years later, was an avid runner and “gym rat”, an athletic 175 pounds standing 5 feet 10 inches. I counted every calorie. Cocktails were always mixed with a diet beverage or club soda. No carbs were eaten after 2 pm. I took a rest day maybe once every 2 to 3 weeks. If my weight peaked 180 pounds, I would starve myself the next day. So it went for years.
Now that I am 41, having spent my 30s building a medical practice and raising a daughter, I am 5’9″ and 220 pounds. I am obese based on my Body Mass Index. Me, obese, a former diet doctor! What happened?
Clearly, my metabolism has slowed although comprehensive lab tests I collected on myself show I am in the normal range.
In recent weeks and months, I have dropped my calorie intake to 1500 calories daily without weight loss. I have not had a cookie, a sweet, or ice cream in months. I have been in the gym 3-5 days weekly for at least 20-30 minutes breaking a sweat–not the ironman of workouts but something is better than nothing.
I consulted a bariatric surgeon, was signed up to have a $16,000 lap band put around my stomach. But after reviewing the data and speaking to half a dozen friends and patients who had the procedure, I canceled the surgery. Most studies show patients regain their weight within a few years.
I have been on Belviq (bupropion plus naltrexone) which is a relatively new non-controlled non-stimulant weight loss drug for 6 weeks and my weight is unchanged.
Am I frustrated, yes! Have I given up my “skinny jeans” I wore 10 years ago, not yet?
Am I ready to starve myself for months to get back to 180 pounds? Not really.
Am I ready to dive back into the gym or start running again, given that it seems I would need to put in twice the time and energy to maintain my goal weight of 180 pounds, maybe?
I see these hollywood stars my age with terrific physiques and know if they can do it, so can I.
My current plan: drop my calorie intake to 800 to 1200 calories daily, double my time in the gym, speak to my doctor about Topamax which is a non-controlled medicine which also shows efficacy for weight loss. I will not take the stimulant weight loss medicines like phentermine or Vyvanse, they work but are habit-forming and tolerance can easily occur within weeks to months if used daily.
My scale and I will keep you posted.